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Oaklanders celebrate local talent at SwayFest

Amidst pounding basslines, Oaklanders gathered downtown last Friday on the streets below Pandora’s Oakland headquarters to celebrate SwayFest. The event was held to commemorate the new partnership between SiriusXM, a satellite radio company, and Pandora, an automated music streaming service, and it was an opportunity for Sway Calloway, a musician, journalist, and radio host, to come back to his hometown. The block party featured performances from Bay Area legends like percussionist and singer Sheila E. to rappers Mistah Fab, Kamaiyah and…

Through meditation and spoken word poetry, an Oakland group creates a “communal space for men”

On Saturday afternoon, a group of four older men in white pants and linen shirts sat in front of a stage at the center of a room filled with art, books and mismatched chairs. These men, all from the group Urban Healers, a men’s group that focuses on brotherhood and spiritual betterment, chatted amongst themselves, and to several men wearing yellow shirts and white pants who walked around the room greeting people, snacking on hard boiled eggs and bananas and…

Oaklanders celebrate Mardi Gras with second line parade

If there is one celebration that cannot be stopped, it’s the Mardi Gras parade in Oakland. Whether there is sunshine or it is raining cats and dogs, the good times have to roll on Fat Tuesday. Despite the gloomy weather, people from across the Bay Area came to Oakland last week to celebrate the rich cultural tradition of New Orleans, twirling their parasols and handkerchiefs, and joining the “second line” in the street as drummers and the brass band, the…

A Lunar New Year museum experience

Kids ran around relentlessly, and parents did their best to keep up. This was the scene at the Oakland Museum of California’s Lunar New Year Celebration, an annual event that drew residents from across the Bay Area. A line of traffic formed on Oak St. just for museum parking. As attendees continuously flooded through the museum entrance, the sight of walls adorned with red decorations and multi-colored lanterns welcomed them. The festivities focused on how members of the Asian diaspora…

Coming soon to Oakland: the Black Choreographers Festival

Dance professor Julia Hughes is finishing a rehearsal in a big circle in the center of a studio. “Breathe in, breathe out,” she says. “Let’s leave all our bad energies and refresh by saying something we are thankful for!” This is the first time that her group, Tô Aí: We Are One People, will be performing as part of the Black Choreographers Festival, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary this February during the month dedicated to black history. The festival,…

Online music company Bandcamp opens shop in Oakland

Last Friday, online music company Bandcamp hosted the grand opening of a new record store and performance space in downtown Oakland. Local artists Sol Development, Queens D. Light, Jazz on the Sidewalk, and MJ’s Brass Boppers performed in front of a packed house. Attendees chatted away while browsing through the store’s diverse music selection. For the record store’s general manager, Sarah Sexton, this new space is all about bringing together musicians that “really showcased the diversity and range of the…

Oakland rapper Jahi holds lecture on the history of Hip-Hop

During his lecture at the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland on Friday night, Oakland rapper Jahi cited a rhyme from artist Erykah Badu: “I was born underwater With three dollars and six dimes You may laugh, but you did not do your math.” “Three dollars and six dimes is 360 degrees,” Jahi explained to more than 100 adults and children who filled the Megadome Theater to hear his lecture, “The Intersection between Hip-Hop Culture and Education.” He focused…

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